Author Archives: Erik Brooks

Taking A Labor Day Break From Blogging

I’ll be taking a break from blogging this Labor Day weekend.

I hope you can enjoy the long weekend with your family and friends … and, while you do, don’t forget the reason for the holiday. According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, this day is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

On this weekend, I give a special shout out to our city employees. We deliver first-class services in this city, and that’s a credit to their hard work and dedication. I am thankful for that.

To celebrate them and all workers, I might suggest a few South Shore events, check out Oak Creek Lionsfest or St. Francis Days. And, of course, the South Milwaukee football team travels to Westosha Central in Paddock Lake tonight. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next week!

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Urban Forestry Update

The city is making real progress as we begin to implement our urban forestry program.

Our Engineering and Street Departments — among others — are working hard to take on this new city service, and I’m proud of what’s they’ve done. As I’ve written before, I think this is the right thing to do, and I wholly support our work in this area. In fact, I want to see us expand it, creating a true urban forestry program that includes added manpower and a clear replanting plan.

But first things first: tree removal and pruning. Here is an update on how those are going …

  • Since the council adopted the revised tree ordinance and policy in May, a tree inventory has been used to identify trees that the Street Department could potentially remove based on diameter, equipment, training and experience (typically trees 16 inches in diameter and less). Street Department personnel had to review each tree and have removed 35 trees this season, as of August 15, inlcluding a number downtown.
  • We have begun more focused work in the First District, as this will be done in phases. The Engineering Department has reviewed all trees identified as dead or in poor condition to determine if trees are considered public or private under the adopted city ordinance. Some property owners were sent a letter stating that a tree is in need of removal or pruning, or that the tree was considered private, but that its condition was potentially hazardous.
  • In all, there are 75 “public” trees in the First District that should be removed based on their condition, ranging from 17 to 49 inches in diameter. The trees (28 ash, 11 silver maple, 12 Norway maple and other species) are dead or in very poor condition.
  • Another 24 public trees are identified for pruning due to dead branches or other issues (height).
  • We are now seeking a contactor to remove the 75 trees, including stump removal, and do pruning work. Removals will be done by Dec. 1, weather permitting, with stump grinding possible in 2015.
  • Work is expected to move to the Second District in 2015.

Our city engineer has also put together a good Q&A document about our urban forestry efforts. Check it out here.

And I’ll continue to keep you posted on the progress we’re making.

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Filed under City Services, Community, Urban Forestry

Council Backs Aldermanic Pay Raise

South Milwaukee alderpersons would see a $50 monthly pay raise spread over the next three years under an ordinance change under consideration.

Common council members are currently paid a base salary of $525 per month, with the council president making $575. They also receive $100 per month for expenses.

Under the ordinance passed 7-1 (with one alderperson abstaining) at the Aug.  19 meeting …

  • The base salary and stipend would be combined into one salary figure.
  • Starting April 1, 2015, that salary would be $655 per month ($705 for the council president).
  • One year later, it would move to $665 per month ($715 for the council president).
  • Then, in 2017, it would increase to $675 per month ($725 for the council president).

So it’s a $50 increase spread over three years.

This is the first increase in council pay since 2009. Before that, the last increase was in 2001.

And while I would have likely voted against it as an alderman — I’m not convinced this is the right time for a pay raise — it’s a reasonable compromise from what was first proposed at our July meeting.

The aldermanic raise still needs final passage before it becomes law. It got its first reading and passage at the Aug. 12 council meeting. It will be discussed again at Tuesday’s council meeting before potentially getting its second and third readings.

(By the way, mayoral pay is $925 per month, and the expense allowance is $125.)


Filed under City Council, South Milwaukee

More Headlines

Check out these South Shore headlines …

And NOW has published a new police blotter.

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Filed under Community, Headlines, South Milwaukee

Police Department Can Help You Avoid Being A Crime Victim

From the South Milwaukee Police Department:

Protect yourself before it’s too late.

We as individuals can take a number of steps to keep our homes and businesses secure to reduce the chances of becoming the victim of a crime. We can do this sometimes with little effort and little cost.

For a crime to happen and for you to be a victim, 3 elements need to be present. Those are the Desire, Opportunity, and Ability to commit a crime. We as individuals can only control one of the three and that is the Opportunity. A good Physical Security plan for your home or business is the best way to reduce or eliminate a criminal’s opportunity to make you the victim of a crime. The question is, do you want to do something to avoid being a victim now…or wait until after you have been a victim?

As a service to our homeowners and business owners, the South Milwaukee Police Department offers FREE Physical Security Evaluations of your property. This will include an in-depth evaluation, some additional helpful tips, and a report you get a copy of.

For information, or to set up your evaluation, please call the South Milwaukee Police at 414-768-8060 and ask for Officer Brian Fleming 8am-4pm or Mike Hill 4pm-12am.


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Filed under Police, South Milwaukee

Commitment To Excellence: South Milwaukee Schools Earn Accreditation

As the proud parent of two South Milwaukee School District students, I’m not surprised to hear this news …

The district has become the first in southeastern Wisconsin to earn school system accreditation from the AdvancED Accreditation Committee. From the press release

This distinction by the most rigorous accreditation organization in the United States means that the School District of South Milwaukee and all of its schools meet international standards of quality and demonstrate a commitment to excellence.

The accreditation process involves three ongoing components: 1) meeting high quality standards; 2) implementing a continuous process of improvement; and 3) engaging in quality assurance through internal and external review. The system’s accreditation is for a five-year term with regular monitoring of progress and reporting occurring during the term.

Congratulations to the district and the administrators, teachers, staff and students who worked (and work) every day to help make this happen.

We have lots to be proud of in South Milwaukee, nothing more so than our schools.

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Filed under Schools, South Milwaukee

Ready For Some Football?

Update: South Milwaukee 55, Milwaukee Marshall 24. That’s your final score.

New coach, same high expectations.

There may be big things in store for the South Milwaukee football team this season, with Derek Hoff taking over the reins after the Rockets finished 8-3 with a Woodland Conference East championship in 2013.

The season gets underway tonight with Milwaukee Marshall visiting Spaltholz Field. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

  • From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Woodland East preview: “South Milwaukee is loaded with experience and has a two-time all-conference quarterback in (Justin) Oliden, making the Rockets the favorite with first-year coach Derek Hoff.”
  • On senior running back/linebacker, Ian Pribyl: “The 6-2, 225-pound standout teams up with quarterback Justin Oliden to give the Rockets an explosive backfield. He was a two-way all-Woodland East first-team pick last season and is drawing Division I interest.”
  • And from the Merrill Foto News (Hoff is from Merrill), which has a feature on the new coach: “My plans for this current team are to win conference and make a run at a state title. My plans for the program include winning multiple state titles and being a perennial powerhouse in the state.”

In other words, this should be a fun year. Learn more on the team website.

Go Rockets! See you tonight!

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Filed under Schools, South Milwaukee, Sports, Uncategorized